SVOU helps provide for homeless veterans

Second annual Road March approaching

Eleven percent, or 39,471, of America’s homeless population are people who once served in the military, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In order to help those homeless veterans, the Student Veterans of Oakland University have organized their second Road March to End Hunger for Sept. 9, where they will collect donations and hold a walk to raise awareness.

“All donations will go to the Homeless Veterans Association,” said Ivan Rose, a veterans representative.

The event will feature a 9/11 memorial performed at 10 a.m. by VFW Post 1370 Color Guard, a local group from Pontiac, and music from the Elliott Clock Tower.

Starting at 11 a.m., the mile-long walk will depart from the clock tower. Participants can carry a military rucksack to put themselves in veterans’ shoes. There will also be a donation station and T-shirts available for purchase, along with free food and refreshments. Those who complete the walk can buy the T-shirts at half price.  

The mile walk means more than a just cheap T-shirt. SVOU is hoping it can be a learning experience for the campus.

“To visually raise awareness around campus for the veteran community, the one-mile march around campus is performed with volunteers carrying rucksacks of the donated canned goods to end hunger,” said Cheyenne Schmidt, vice president of SVOU.

Rose explained that SVOU holds this event not only to raise awareness on campus, but to reach out to the veteran community. All of the members of SVOU are either veterans themselves or have parents in the military.

He said that, for example, Wayne State University has a good veteran support system, so veterans are comfortable going to the school. SVOU would like to become a feature of OU that draws student veterans to the school.

“We want to make SVOU a bigger part of OU,” Rose said.

Along with SVOU, The American Red Cross, Theta Chi and Alpha Delta Pi will also be helping with the event.

On top of that, Road March will be one of several events in G.I. Theta Chi, a week- long effort to donate to the United Service Organization, which helps provide for soldiers and their families. However, all Road March donations will go to a local homeless shelter for veterans, instead of the USO.

“Road March to End Hunger is a special event because even though it exists from the work of four unique organizations, we come together for the same cause,” Schmidt said. “Through Road March, we are all able to serve those who once served us.”

Though all four groups serve different purposes, they all have motivation to improve their community through philanthropy.

“Whether it be due to family military ties, continually supporting servicemen and women, personal service to our country, or a general desire to help those in need in our community, each organization has individual motivations for contributing to Road March,” Schmidt said.

Participants can donate non-perishable food items as well as clothing at the clock tower during the event. Rose said that socks and blankets are most needed when it comes to clothes.

Last year’s Road March reaped 300 pounds of food, and SVOU is hoping to have a bigger turn-out and beat that number this year.